Review: Queen and Adam Lambert at Manchester Arena


Excellent review from Manchester Evening News. Manchester was a truly remarkable show, as they discover.

10 December 2017 by Stuart Greer ’

Obviously there is no Freddie Mercury. But he’s here in spirit and in person, on occasion, at just the right points’

Brian May and Adam Lambert MEN ArenaQueen and Adam Lambert in concert at the Manchester Arena.
(Image: Manchester Evening News)

Queen are a band that created something so incredibly good that generations have fallen under the spell decades after the loss of the sun at the centre of its universe – Rest in Peace Freddie.

I feel bold saying it, but after five years of allowing Adam Lambert the unbelievable honour of taking the mic while Brian May and Roger Taylor drive out their formidable repertoire, I think the galaxy is back in motion. He is a massive shining star. Just like Freddie. Not Freddie. But my goodness, with all the best bits. The decision to allow this kind of show is testament to the fact that May and Taylor have waited for so long until even debating the option of having someone else sing those songs. And regardless of the practice and effort (and compromise) it has been worth the effort.

As we arrived the visuals became a big part of the show with the stage encased in screens that look like rusty blocks prompting a robot to break through the metal prison.

The robot’s eyes are not menacing but uncertain, tentative. It’s hand busts through the metal case. It’s an obvious metaphor for me: a legendary band which takes the brave and decision to turn these chords and lyrics loose again. And what a start, a teaser of We Will Rock You.

Lambert is such a great showman. He arrives in his shimmering bodysuit and boots, completely at home with these songs and this crowd. May wrenches at the guitar like a rock star half his age, looking immense in his formidable flared jeans and his grey hair, electric in the light.

After breaking his vocal in with ‘Hammer to Fall’ Lambert smashes his way through ‘Stone Cold Crazy’ as he ventures along the walkway alone for the first time. The version is fresh, but then again so is ‘Another One Bites The Dust’, which is played with renewed rock sass.

‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ starts with the brilliant multi-harmony featuring May and Taylor, then Lambert returns to the stage for ‘Killer Queen’, clad in a pink suit and killer heels. It’s his moment to share the unusual situation with fans. Lambert promises to ‘celebrate Queen and Freddie together’ and then explodes into ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’. Obviously there is no Freddie Mercury. But he’s here in spirit and in person, on occasion, at just the right points. It feels like a celebration.

‘Bicycle Race’ allows Lambert to camp it up with his pink trike which he rides up the stage while singing. His range is amazing, his vocal acrobatics alongside May to intro ‘I Want It All’ is a special moment. For me, it’s the only moment in the whole show where Freddie is missed. I want to see him in that vest, in that crown. A

fter an emotional segment May takes it down a level, taking centre stage for a lovely moment talking about how he got started with music, through his dad. He dips into ‘Leaning on a lamppost’ by George Formby in a tribute to his dad.

Then it happens, Freddie appears. It’s during a version of ‘Love of my life’ where Mercury explodes on the screen behind, technology merging the two as if reunited on stage. It’s rehearsed, so rehearsed, but a tear jerker.

‘Somebody to love’ is the perfect segway into Lambert’s ‘coronation’. Appearing in gold and silver costume with a crown, it feel like the ultimate nod from king May. The chemistry of the trio is so close it is mesmerising, even more so with ‘Under Pressure’, a duet with Roger and Lambert.

The only sticking point of the whole set is ‘It’s a kind of magic’ where Roger Taylor is lead vocal. It just doesn’t work. Lambert should be there for it. We don’t have to wait long for the main man, he’s back with vigorous aplomb with ‘I Want to break free’.

And then it happens, we reach the pinnacle of what we have been travelling to. The version of ‘Who wants to live forever’ is brilliant, very special.

Brian May - MEN Arena 9 Dec 2017

Into the last stage of the gig, we have this: Radio Ga Ga, Bohemian Rhapsody, We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions, where the crowd are finally on their feet.

We have seen a frontman with no shortage of ego, who is both in wonder at how he has managed to get to where he is, but also two old boys of rock, who have stumbled upon someone fitting to let them share this beautiful catalogue of songs with both the original generation of fans and those that came after. Manchester Evening News